Conditio sine qua non

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by cla07, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. cla07 Senior Member

    Italy - Italian
    Is there a good translation for the Latin expression "conditio sine qua non", very common in Italian and meaning "inalienable condition"?

    Claudia
     
  2. brian

    brian Senior Member

    Montréal
    AmE (New Orleans)
    Hi Claudia,

    This is a legal term, and translated literally means: a condition without which not = a condition without which "it" could not be...

    ...whatever "it" may refer to in said legal document. It refers to some important, essential, indismissable piece of information on which something (the "it") relies, and without which would not be. But I'm sure you gather that from the Italian usage, which I assume is the same.

    As with most legal phrases in Latin, people don't translate them but instead quote them directly. In this case the conditio is often left out, making it: sine qua non.


    Brian
     
  3. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    กรุงเทพมหานคร
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    What surprises me is that it is always written "conditio." From what I've been told, I consider "conditio" a misspelling of "condicio." Brian, do you agree?
     
  4. brian

    brian Senior Member

    Montréal
    AmE (New Orleans)
    Yes, you're quite right, Daniel. Classical Latin (particularly Cicero) would certainly have condicio - from con (cum) + dicere. It's funny that the word went from condicio :arrow: conditio :arrow: condizione(It.). :D Of course, in English we still say condition. I may be wrong, but I believe the incorrect version was brought about by a number of manuscipt errors over the years until eventually it become more or less the standard, I suppose. Had that not happened, I wonder if today we'd be saying condiction in English... :)
     
  5. cla07 Senior Member

    Italy - Italian
    You're right: in the Italian book I am translating into English they wrote "conditio" but in my Latin vocabulary there is written "condicio" (Campanini/Carboni). Actually, we also define "par condicio" the law ruling the equal access to mass media by political parties, so I should have known!

    Claudia :)
     
  6. cla07 Senior Member

    Italy - Italian
    So, Brian, I may either use "condicio sine qua non" (do Americans understand me if I use it? That was my doubt. In Italy we would...) or use, for instance, "precondition". Am I right?

    Claudia
     
  7. brian

    brian Senior Member

    Montréal
    AmE (New Orleans)
    I would say it depends on the cirumstances of your translation. That is, if what you translating deals specifically with a legal matter (or is a legal document) and/or whoever reads it has knowledge of legal terminology, then you can certainly leave it as conditio sine qua non (I would leave it "t" since that's the norm, however wrongfully and unfortunately so). Anyone with a good knowledge of Latin legal terminology would understand it.

    Of course, if your reader would have no idea what that means, then you could certainly say that XX, a conditio sine qua non = XX, a necessary precondition (without which such and such could not be).

    But again, it's a standard term here in the U.S. too, as far as I can tell.
     
  8. lazarus1907 Senior Member

    Lincoln, England
    Spanish, Spain
    If I am not mistaken, it comes from "condicio, condicionis" In Spanish we say "condición sine qua non", where the first word in modern Spanish (so we don't have to argue about it :D ). Maybe people do the same in English: Say "condition" first, and then use the Latin expression.

    An example from my Oxford dictionary: "...they require them, not as adequate causes, but as sine quâ non conditions."
     
  9. cla07 Senior Member

    Italy - Italian

    Dear Brian,
    as usual a biiiig THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! ;)
    Claudia :)
     
  10. brian

    brian Senior Member

    Montréal
    AmE (New Orleans)
    You're very welcome, as always. :)

    Lazarus, that's a fine example. As I suspected, and which I noted above, the conditio part is often left out of the Latin, but what I didn't know is that it would allow for sine qua non to act adjectivally with the English "condition(s)." I like that usage a lot actually.

    So that would make my example something like: XX, (being) a sine qua non condition, ...


    b.
     
  11. cla07 Senior Member

    Italy - Italian
    GREAT! I love this solution!!! ;) Thanks again, Claudia :)
     
  12. lazarus1907 Senior Member

    Lincoln, England
    Spanish, Spain
    It is used pretty much like any other adjective, I think. You can talk about cause a sine qua non, a sine qua non ingredient, etc.
     
  13. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    And condiciones sine quibus non!
     
  14. cla07 Senior Member

    Italy - Italian
    A big thank to all of you, Lazarus, Brian and Whodunit!

    Claudia
     
  15. cajzl Senior Member

    Prag
    Czech
    Another common misspelling: pronunciation (from nuntius)

    But these words were misspelled by the Romans, probably due to the fact that the pronuntiation of ti+vowel and ci+vowel was the same (in some period).

    There is also conditio from condio (condire, conditum)
     

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